Tuesday 15 October 2013

Felabrating Fela's Legacy Jungle By Night Style

This year Fela Kuti would have turned 75 years old. Although it's sad he had to leave us so early, people are celebrating his life and the big legacy he left us. Not only his music, but also his engagement and charismatic personality. Jungle by Night organised Felabration for the third time in The Netherlands. This time it was even three nights in a row in different Dutch cities. Of course Amsterdam was one of them.

Felabration 3 at Paradiso Amsterdam, October 11 2013

Besides Jungle by Night themselves, they once again managed to book an iconic afro-beat act. Two years ago Seun Kuti came to celebrate and last year Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen joined in. This year no one less than Ebo Taylor starts off the night. The musician from Ghana was re-discovered a few years ago. Since then he released two new albums, his latest one Appia Kwa Bridge last year. Taylor is 77 years old, but is going strong again. He brought a great band with him. Enthusiastic musicians that know exactly what this night needs: a whipping performance with plenty of positive vibes. Within no time we're in hot Ghana. The mix of afro-beat and highlife has everybody dancing from the start. It's inspiring to see how the old Taylor can make youngsters move to his music. Now and then he's looking at the crowd with a smile. He's sitting down for short breaks at the side of the stage while his band is playing on and especially his keyboard player is entertaining the crowd. The master himself is looking pleased.

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Jungle By Night are playing after that. The band has turned into an experienced afro-beat machine. If anyone is able to stand still they have to be made of stone. The young musicians are working hard to get everyone going. In the end there isn't a single soul in the venue that is not dancing and smiling. Especially for tonight the group prepared some Fela Kuti songs and even present a new song. It sounds like the musicians have grown a lot. Their busy tour schedule has paid off. It also cost them their bass player, who quit a few months ago. They found a worthy replacement though and the band sounds better than ever.

At the end of the show Ebo Taylor and his band join in for a grand finale. The overcrowded stage turns into a happy jam session. It may not be tight all the time and with so many musicians it's hard to keep it all together. But the fired up wild bunch and good spirits make up for that. Taylor isn't jamming with them. He did his part for the night. The veteran does stay on stage with the rest though, looking pleased again. He knows the afro-beat is in good hands now with a younger generation. His and Fela's legacy are safe. And that is a reassuring thought on this very successful felabration in the true spirit of Fela.

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